They will be the attraction of the Spanish gathering. Already qualified for the Euro in Germany next summer, Spain will take advantage of its last two qualifying matches, in Cyprus (this Thursday at 6 p.m.) then against Georgia (Sunday 8:45 p.m.), to discover new faces. Alejandro Grimaldo, Rodrigo Riquelme, Aleix Garcia and Álex Remiro are novices in the list of 24 unveiled by Luis de la Fuente. Even though time is running out, the four players, rewarded for their superb club performances, hope to earn their place on the European Championship train. Presentation.
6 goals and 4 assists in 11 matches. No, these statistics do not belong to a goalscorer. They are the work of the left side of Bayer Leverkusen, positioned as a piston in the impressive 3-4-3 concocted by his coach Xabi Alonso. Author of the best start to the season of his career, Grimaldo finally erases his anomaly. That of never having had a selection with Spain despite seven years at a high level spent at Benfica Lisbon (2016-2023). The 28-year-old player, trained at FC Barcelona, has long lived in the shadow of reference Jordi Alba.
Called up this time with the Valencian José Gaya, in the absence of the great hope at the post Alejandro Balde, he should grab minutes during the two meetings of La Roja. A true symbol of invincible Leverkusen (Bundesliga leader, two points ahead of Bayern Munich) since August, the left-hander must ride his euphoria to convince De la Fuente. It remains to be seen whether the four-defender scheme will not slow down his integration, he who now shines in a very free and offensive position in Germany.
Unhappy finalist of the Euro Espoirs with La Rojita against England last July, the Atlético Madrid player joins the band of “nuggets” within the Spanish environment. In the absence of Pedri, who has just returned from injury at Barça, Riquelme (23 years old) accompanies Gavi (19 years old), Oihan Sancet (23 years old) and even Martin Zubimendi (24 years old). A fair reward for the pure product of the Atlético Madrid training center, which is revealed this season after three consecutive loans (to Bournemouth, Mirandès then Girona).
Right-handed, the winger plays left piston in the system of “Cholo” Diego Simeone, giving a very offensive face to the Colchoneros, more attractive than ever in La Liga. Alongside Antoine Griezmann, he stands out for his riot of energy, his combativeness – qualities required at Atlético – but also thanks to his dribbling and his above-average technical ease. A winning recipe which logically opens the doors of La Roja to him, at the best possible time.
At 26, Aleix Garcia is living a waking dream. The midfielder who passed discreetly by Manchester City (17 matches between 2015 and 2020) is the face of the surprising Girona team, at the top of La Liga ahead of the Madrid and Barcelona behemoths. Captain of the Catalan team which he joined in 2021, he became the first player in the club's history to be selected for the Spanish A. A feat which is hardly surprising given his current performances. With 3 goals and 4 assists in 13 days of the championship, the former Eibar player is decisive and balances Girona in the midfield.
As a good Spaniard, he shines above all through passing, as evidenced by a statistic. According to Dave Statman, analyst for Sky Sport, Garcia is the fifth player in the number of successful progressive passes (98) in the five major European championships, behind the big names Achraf Hakimi (PSG, 107), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United, 108) , Luis Alberto (Lazio, 110) and Granit Xhaka (Leverkusen, 119). A figure revealing its quality, to be confirmed internationally.
No doubt the novice who leaves from further away to join the Euro wagon. The starting goalkeeper of Real Sociedad especially benefits from the withdrawal of Kepa, injured last week in the adductor muscles with Real Madrid. Solid in the position in the Basque jersey, especially in the Champions League where he will see the round of 16, the 28-year-old goalkeeper should play the third role behind regulars Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao) and David Raya (Arsenal).
It is therefore not certain that he will have the opportunity to speak in Limassol (against Cyprus) then in Valladolid (against Georgia). But if the opportunity presents itself, he will have to seize it. Whatever happens, Remiro arrives in the selection with full confidence and a knife between his teeth. Just like his partners, Grimaldo, Riquelme and Garcia, who intend to make their mark within an ambitious Roja but still in reconstruction.